DAS BOOT

DAS BOOT

Die reine Wahrheit über dem Boot

 

Who, or what, is a Boot.  Wikipedia gives us a cursory description:

Boot was born in 1969 in Moscow.[4] His parents, both Russian Jews, later emigrated from the Soviet Union to Los Angeles, where he was raised.[4] Boot earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of California, Berkeley in 1991, and a Master’s Degree in Diplomatic History from Yale University in 1992.[1] He started his journalistic career writing columns for the Berkeley student newspaper The Daily Californian.[5] He later stated that he believes he is the only conservative writer in that paper’s history.[5] Boot and his family currently live in New York City.

A shorter description might be ‘Warmonger par excellence’…but that would be getting ahead of ourselves.

Having previously tossed brickbats at progressives and conservatives, we cannot overlook that political class known far and wide as Neo-Conservatives.  Their title, though, is beyond me, as there is nothing conservative about them (Bombs away!) and little that seems to connote ‘neo’.

The rise of the neo-Cons (or Neo-Con Men), as they are affectionately known, is much like the rise of the machines in Arnold’s Terminator world.  (And lovely little machines they appear to be).  Neo-Cons and their origins have been widely discussed throughout the known universe.  See this, for instance.

And dear little Max seems to be a paragon of NeoCon virtue. 

Now this is nothing new, of course, but Robert Parry’s column brought this all back to mind.  Just a sample:

Boot constructed what purported to be a historical narrative demonstrating why it was always a mistake for the U.S. government to trim back its standing army, arguing that such cutbacks caused troubles from the Whiskey Rebellion after the Revolutionary War to George W. Bush’s botched occupation of Iraq.

The lesson, according to Boot, is to maintain a very large military even after a major conflict ends and to view the current defense budget – which is approaching nearly half of what the entire world spends on military costs – as “a bargain considering the historic consequences of letting our guard down.”

And Boot is not just some obscure neocon hawk. He is Gen. David Petraeus’s BFF(Butt-Fucking Friend?). In one recently publicized e-mail exchange between them, they discussed how the general could back away from his congressional testimony which mildly criticized Israel. At the end of one e-mail, Petraeus thanked Boot with a sideways happy face made from a colon, a hyphen and a closed parenthesis, 🙂 .

Boot also is employed by the powerful Council on Foreign Relations, so his writings are treated with great respect in Washington opinion circles.

Anyway, butt-fucker or not, Max seems to have a certain caché, rating a column in that popular scandal tabloid known as the Washington Post.  Ever the consummate diplomat, das Boot contributes this to the discussion:

If there were ever evidence that it’s impossible to learn from history — or at least that it’s difficult for politicians to do so — this is it. Before they rush to cut defense spending, lawmakers should consider the consequences of previous attempts to cash in on a “peace dividend.”

(Wasn’t it a Santana, Carlos?, who said that ‘Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it’? )

And the very first example he presents is the Whiskey Rebellion:

The Whiskey Rebellion, less commonly known as the Whiskey Insurrection, was a resistance movement in the western part of the United States in the 1790s, during the presidency of George Washington. The conflict was rooted in western dissatisfaction with various policies of the eastern-based national government. The name of the uprising comes from a 1791 excise tax on whiskey that was a central grievance of the westerners. The tax was a part of treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton’s program to centralize and fund the national debt.  Wikipedia.

Said rebellion ‘might have been averted if the new republic had had an army and a navy that commanded the respect of prospective enemies, foreign and domestic.’  We especially like that ‘domestic’ part, as obviously that was the purpose of the Department of War (before it was euphemized to Department of Defense).  Well, that will be next, I guess – using the armed forces to go out into the Land to collect taxes.  While we are at it, maybe we can waterboard the evaders, just for the fun of it.

The Pièce de résistance of young Boot’s discourse on the pleasures of killing off those who displeasure one is this:

It might still make sense to cut the defense budget — if it were bankrupting us and undermining our economic well-being. But that’s not the case. Defense spending is less than 4 percent of gross domestic product and less than 20 percent of the federal budget. That means our armed forces are much less costly in relative terms than they were throughout much of the 20th century. Even at roughly $549 billion, our core defense budget is eminently affordable. It is, in fact, a bargain considering the historic consequences of letting our guard down.

It all sounds so reasonable – a bargain, even.

All das Boot has to do is help us out with some sort of cost/benefit analysis, which would no doubt convince us beyond all doubt that $549,000,000,000 is, indeed, as small price to pay to guarantee the pursuit of peace, security and happiness, as the Declaration declares (I think).  And no doubt hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Afghanis and other assorted sandniggers, ragheads and rugriders would agree, if they weren’t already dead. 

[And although Parry does seem to pound a nail into the Boot on this one, it does surprise me a bit that a progressive, such as he, would deign to resort to original intent:

So, when the Founders opted for a Republic, they placed most of the power in the hands of the legislators in Congress, not with the chief executive, the President. The accompanying decision – to maintain a relatively modest professional army and navy – was deliberate, out of concern that otherwise the President might be tempted to use the military to assert dictatorial powers.

Now, if we could just get Progressives to agree to the rest of the Constitution.]

But back to the Boot-

As they teach us in the NFL, the best offense is a good defense, and you can never have too much defense, especially when it seems to be as defensively offensive as it is.  Hey, what’s $549,000,000,000 or so, especially when it is not coming out of Boot’s booty.

But, you know, I’ll bet $549,000,000,000 that little Boot has a secret agenda.  And it has nothing to do with defending the Indispensible Nation.  Here is Boot at his ass-kicking best:

LA Times:

You would think that the United States was Nazi Germany preparing to launch a war of aggression on Poland based on a fabricated provocation. (Adolf Hitler’s Sept. 1, 1939, blitzkrieg was preceded by SS troops in Polish uniforms pretending to attack a German radio station on the border.) In reality, it is the United States and our allies that are the victims in the confrontation with Iran.

(and)

Faced with such a flagrant casus belli, not to mention President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s blood-curdling threats against our ally, Israel, the U.S. would be perfectly justified in hitting Iran now, before it acquires nuclear weapons. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that such an attack is the best strategy at the moment or the one that the administration is pursuing.

My best guess, and correct me if I am wrong, is that das Boot is more concerned about defending Israel than he is about defending the United States of America.  If so, maybe he is the one that should cough up the necessary $549,000,000,000 to do so.

But it is time to sink das Boot, or give him the boot, or just send him to Tehran where he can exchange blood-curdling threats with Ahmadinejad.  Just leave the rest of us in peace.

Paz

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JUST WHERE ARE THE BARRICADES?

JUST WHERE ARE THE BARRICADES?

In the humble opinion of the Oso Politico (and all of his opinions are humble, indeed), there is no difference between the politics of the Left, and the politics of the Right. They are all Statists – the Left being Mommy Statists, and the Right being Daddy Statists.

Having said that, today I will pick on the authors of Will Washington’s Failures Lead To Second American Revolution?, whom I assume from the tone of their article, are of the rightest persuasion. No malice is intended here, and actually, I sympathize somewhat with their position, but the reasoning has holes in it large enough to drive a Mack truck through.

It is essential that, in arguing against the State, that we understand the root causes for the failure of the State to deliver, either on the hopes and promises of the Mommies, or of the Daddies.

To quote the authors:

‘The Internet is a large-scale version of the “Committees of Correspondence” that led to the first American Revolution — and with Washington’s failings now so obvious and awful, it may lead to another.’

• People can blah-blah all they want on the Internet. It ain’t going to change one god-damn thing that those who wield the Rings of Power are doing, and are going to do.
• Just peruse the internet for a few minutes at the so-called progressive sites, and then ask yourself: Just how obvious are ‘Washington’s failings’? To a lot of people, OBVIOUSLY not too fucking obvious!
• And then from that springs the fantasy that a second American Revolution is in the offing. Well, go grab your guns off the wall, but don’t forget what happened to Randy Weaver, or the poor sods at Waco.

Another quote:

‘People are asking, “Is the government doing us more harm than good? Should we change what it does and the way it does it?”’

The collective word ‘people’ tells us nothing. Some people are asking. Who? And as for change, why…don’t we have the Republicans to change things when the Democrats are in power, and vice-versa?

If we are to believe the Constitution, the ‘power of government’ does not lie with the Presidency, nor with the Congress, but rather with the collective People. Aren’t those folks in Washington supposed to work for the People? If they aren’t doing a good job, why not just throw them out? Isn’t that the way our Democracy is supposed to work?

Let’s not forget that Congress is responsible for legislation and oversight of the Executive branch. If the legislation is rotten, and the oversight is non-existent, is the Executive to be blamed? ‘There’s no end to the harm an out-of-control president can do.’ In fact, there is no end to the harm that an in-control president can do, also. Others have written about the Imperial Presidency.

‘Bill Clinton lowered the culture, moral tone and strength of the nation — and left America vulnerable to attack. When it came, George W. Bush stood up for America, albeit sometimes clumsily.’

Now here is a dumbass statement if ever there was one. Sorry to get so ad hominem. Blame it all on poor Billy and a blow job. Clinton is but one of a long line of presidents who have ‘lowered the culture, moral tone and strength of the nation’. The problem is not the person, the problem is the system. It is the very system which allows one person to wield such power. As to GWB, the less said, the better.

Think of the power establishment as one enormous oil tanker. Have you ever tried to maneuver an oil tanker? Does it matter who the captain is? The Right-Wing attacks on Obama are merely infantile. It’s always the blame game. Pogo said it best: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Another dumbass statement:

‘He (Obama) is undermining our constitutional traditions: The rule of law and our Anglo-Saxon concepts of private property hang in the balance. Obama may be the most “consequential” president ever.’

Which ‘constitutional traditions’ are we talking about. Since the inception of the Republic politicians have been ignoring the pretty words, if not outright flouting them. Remember the Whiskey Rebellion? The Alien Sedition Act? No, this didn’t all just start with some Democrat presidents like Clinton or Obama.

And I am not certain that concepts of private property are exclusively of an Anglo-Saxon nature. I would prefer to believe that such concepts are more of a human nature.

You have to love this one: ‘Fear and uncertainty stalk the land’. That one should win the authors a Pulitzer Prize. Nothing like a bit of hyperbole to get the troops to the barricades. Let the Revolution begin!!

‘Obama is building an imperium of public debt and crushing taxes, contrary to George Washington’s wise farewell admonition: “cherish public credit … use it as sparingly as possible … avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt … bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue, that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not … inconvenient and unpleasant … .”’

Why the opprobrium directed at young Obama? Many presidents have contributed to public debt, not the least of whom was GWB. As to taxes, why, where would the Republic be without taxes? Who would pay for Air Force One? As to that quote from the FF, that there are no taxes which are not ‘inconvenient’ and ‘unpleasant’, we might add the adjectives ‘coercive and immoral’.

Not to worry, dear and loyal readers, but one last quote:

‘Opinion polls suggest that in the November mid-term elections, voters will replace the present Democratic majority in Congress with opposition Republicans — but that will not necessarily stop Obama.’

In other words, the Tweedle Dees might be replaced by the Tweedle Dums, but that won’t matter anyway, as the Mad-Hatter-In-Charge will continue his evil ways. So, as a rhetorical question: Why bother to vote at all?

And so, in attempt to complete the circle, what happened to our talk of revolution, which began the article in question? Is voting for the Republicans the revolution to which the authors are referring. Har-de-har-har-har.

(And a question: What is the purpose of all of these onanistic blatherings from Left and Right? It must feel good at the time, but does it really change anything?)

Well, all sarcasm and irony aside, what is to be done? And can something be done to scale back the size and power of the State to its proper role? (Let’s leave the role question for another day).

Basic premises need to be challenged, and new paradigms sought. After all, what is ‘democracy’ but mob rule by the majority? Each individual needs to decide whether he or she is self-owned, sovereign, or is merely property of the State, whether servant, serf, or slave. The question and the answer is not political, or one of correct economic theory – it is moral.

Paz

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CONSPIRACY THEORY NUMBER TWO

 

CONSPIRACY THEORY II

We can all agree that there is something rotten in the state of the State.  Where we differ is in the nature of the rottenness, and the causes for that rottenness.

This essay is by way of reply to Glenn Greenwald’s column, and indirectly, to Bernie Sanders article in The Nation

Let’s begin with Sanders’ declaration:

As a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, homes, life savings and their ability to get a higher education.

The question that needs to be addressed here is one of cause and effect.  How can any problem be analyzed correctly, and solutions sought, if the causes of the problem are not properly identified?  Sanders seems to believe that ‘Wall Street’ is the embodiment of those causes (without presenting any proofs).

Sanders’ explanation of the current ills of America from the progressive point of view is just as facile as is the explanation from the so-called conservative right:  Blame it on the other guys – blame it on a conspiracy of the 400 wealthiest ‘families’ – shades of the mafia? – who are secretly forming an oligarchy in order to rule the country, presumably through bought and paid-for congressmen and women. 

In fact, Sanders is part of the problem.  It is he, and his congressional colleagues who have the theoretical power to just say no.  That they don’t is testimony to the nature of human beings and the nature of power.  Please pardon me for repeating this quote:  Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton).

The fact of the matter is that the entire political structure of the federal government and state and local government is corrupt.  And the corruption is not due to Wall Street and corporations, nor to capitalism, nor to socialism and social justice.  It is due to human nature and it comes down to the point where the very paradigms of our society must be questioned.

We speak of government and of corporations, but those are merely convenient fictions, concepts.  In order to analyze the problems we must analyze the motivations of the individuals who compose these entities.  Only individual human beings have motivations.  Only individual human beings can act.  And if you will permit me another bromide:  Money is the root of all evil.  And where is the money to be found?  Where is the power to be found? 

Sanders expends some words excoriating the ‘rich’.  And he throws out a lot of numbers.  (Of course, he has a large staff to help him generate those numbers, so who can possibly doubt them?).  And he uses words like ‘evade’ and ‘manipulate’ and heaven forbid:  ‘Unfair’.  But is it not so that all of us, human beings that we are, evade and manipulate when it serves our own interests?  Even congressmen and women are known to engage in such nefarious actions.

What he actually seems to be lamenting is the apparent fact that uncollected taxes mean less of others people’s money to spend.  Or is it that it is a mere illusion that we ‘own’ our own money, or anything else, for that matter.  Is private property held only at the discretion of our politicians?

But to get back to the point, if indeed the wealthy are getting wealthier, what is the cause?  Blaming the rich for gaming the system does not seem like a constructive course of action.  Does Sanders believe that by taxing the wealthy a bit more we are going to pay off the $13,000,000,000,000 debt that he cites?

After all, it is Sanders and his ilk (Democrats, Republicans and also the lone Independent) that are responsible for the system.  Perhaps it is the ‘system’ that needs changing.  There is a $13,000,000,000,000 debt, not because the government isn’t collecting enough taxes, but rather because congress is addicted to spending money that it doesn’t have.

And so, what does this have to do with Glenn Greenwald and his post on the secret government?  Well, it is Glenn who is quoting Sanders, apparently buying into Sanders’ conspiracy theory.  Is there really a secret clique of wealthy and powerful men (and women) in the private sector who control both Washington and Wall Street?  If you believe that are you not becoming merely a leftist version of rightwing conspiracy nuts?

I maintain that there is something much simpler occurring.  Why is ‘Top Secret America’ not drawing much attention, either from John and Jane Public, or from our public ‘servants’ in Washington, D.C.?

Well, if you consider public choice theory, then it becomes easier to understand why private individuals do not invest time and effort into becoming informed and active participants in the political process:  There is nothing in it for them.  It is perceived, correctly, that the individual can do absolutely nothing to change the course of the Ship of State.  Therefore, it is better to engage in activities and discussions that are within one’s control and understanding.

One the other hand, our elected public servants are served perfectly well by doing nothing to change the situation.  We have Diane Feinstein hundreds of times over.  Why would any incumbent want to change the system?  Look at all the power and perks associated with elected office.  And if for some reason, a politician should leave Congress, then the job possibilities in the Lobbying Industry are practically endless.  It is the game.  Both political parties do it.  And Bernie Sanders is also a party to it.  Spend more, collect more taxes; go into debt to finance your favorite social hobbyhorse.

Yes, there is an evil symbiosis between big government and big business.  But think about it:  Who makes the rules; who passes the budgets; who has the real power?  Cause and effect.

The cold turkey solution:  Drastically cut spending.  Drastically cut out bureaucracies with their voluminous and incomprehensible rules and regulations.  Drastically cut taxes.

It is easy to say, but the reality is that in spite of all that you or I might say or do, there is no one in Congress with the cojones to do it.

Paz

Update:  

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Has-Congress-become-useless_-1006684-99784004.html

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